Detailed Look At Google’s TLDs

Google was very aggressive in applying for new TLDs. They applied for 102 different extensions at a cost of $18.87 million (their actual spend will be higher as explained later). Some where obvious (like .google and .search) and others were head-scratchers (like .lol and .soy). Below I break down all the different TLDs Google applied for.

Brand TLDs

These are the top-level domains that protect Google’s brand and give Google the ability to allow domain sales or personalization (www.dustin.youtube, for example).

  • AND (Android)
  • ANDROID
  • CHROME
  • DCLK (DoubleClick)
  • GOOG
  • GOOGLE
  • GMAIL
  • YOUTUBE

Generic TLDs Directly Related To Google’s Business

These are TLDs that are clearly of interest to Google due to current areas that Google operates in.

  • グーグル (Google in Japanese)
  • ADS (Google Adwords & Ads)
  • APP* (Android Apps)
  • BLOG* (Blogspot)
  • BOOK* (Google Books)
  • CAL (Google Calendar)
  • CLOUD* (Google Cloud Services or App Engine)
  • DRIVE* (Google Drive or Google Self-driving cars)
  • DOCS* (Google Docs)
  • EARTH* (Google Earth)
  • FILM* (YouTube, though this is a stretch)
  • GBIZ (Google Business)
  • HANGOUT (Google Hangout)
  • MAIL* (Gmail)
  • MAP* (Google Maps)
  • MOV (YouTube .mov files)
  • MOVIE* (YouTube)
  • MUSIC* (Google Music)
  • PAGE (Google Pages or Google+ pages)
  • PLUS* (Google Plus)
  • SHOP* (Google Shopping)
  • TALK (Google Talk)
  • TUBE (YouTube)
  • SEARCH* (Google Search)
  • SITE* (Google Sites)
  • STORE (Google shopping or stores)

Generic TLDs Not Related to Current Google Efforts

These are TLDs that Google doesn’t really have a clear business reason to be in. These are interesting to look at as potential markets where Google would like to expand into.

  • みんな (“Everyone” in Japanese)
  • 谷歌 (“Valley Song” in Japanese)
  • ARE
  • BABY*
  • BOO* (no idea why – Halloween sites?)
  • BUY* (perhaps Google checkout or shopping)
  • CAR
  • CHANNEL
  • CORP* (corporation)
  • CPA* (certified public accountant or cost-per-aquisition)
  • DAD
  • DAY
  • DDS
  • DEV*
  • DIY*
  • DOG*
  • DOT*
  • EAT
  • ESQ
  • EST
  • FAMILY*
  • FLY
  • FOO
  • FREE*
  • FUN*
  • FYI*
  • GAME*
  • GLE
  • GMBH* (German limited liability company)
  • GOO* (assume they were thinking another version of Google)
  • GUGE (Ancient Kingdom in Western Tibet)
  • HERE
  • HOME*
  • HOW
  • INC* (incorporated)
  • ING (attempt to grab present tense verbs)
  • KID
  • LIVE*
  • LLC* (limited liability company)
  • LLP* (limited liability parntership)
  • LOL (laugh out loud)
  • LOVE*
  • MBA* (Masters in Business Admin)
  • MED*
  • MEME
  • MOM*
  • MOTO*
  • NEW
  • NEXUS
  • PET*
  • PAGE
  • PHD*
  • PLAY*
  • PROD
  • PROF
  • RSVP
  • SHOW*
  • SOY
  • SPOT
  • SRL
  • TEAM
  • TECH
  • TOUR
  • VIP
  • WEB
  • WOW
  • YOU
  • ZIP

All the results with an asterix (*) are one’s Google will have to win an auction to own the TLD rights. Interestingly, Google applied for .car and was the only one, but several will be bidding on .cars. Same goes with .kid – the plural version was bidded on by two others.

There are some notable TLDs Google didn’t apply for: .art, .audio, .cam, .cash, .cat, .chat, .city, .cpm, .cpc, .data, .deal, .directions, .discount, .eco, .family, .forum, .forsale, .foundation, .green, .group, .guide, .happy, .hotel, .humor, .help, .laugh, .ltd, .news,, .online, ..photos, .pics, .places, .reviews, .sale, .serp, .spam, .shopping, .shop, .store, .restaurant, .tickets, .travel, .video, .vote, and .wiki, and .wikipedia (just kidding).

Beauty of Wireless Internet Access

Clearly I spend a lot of time online. Most of it occurs in my home office or around the house. Occasionally I connect in coffee shops (usually free) or at the airport (usually for a fee). As part of the Clear Heros program, I have been blessed with a 4G wifi hotspot that I can use myself, and share with others. Having high speed internet access wherever I go has benefited me in a lot of ways. Here are a few situations where it has come in handy, so far:

  • Conference Connectivity: Like many conferences, people are on a tweeting & email checking rampage. The complimentary wi-fi is inevitably overloaded and slow. By having my own access point while at a conference I gained a client, and saved another attendee from losing one (she couldn’t email them the dinner plans). More recently at Startup Weekend EDU, I was able to read tweets just after our presentation to judges like Michael Arrington in a conference room where there was no internet AT&T connectivity on my iPhone. During break, I was able to meet up with a well-connected attendee who complimented our pitch, which may lead to our first source of revenue.
  • Traveling Flexibility: Over the summer, my family made a trip to Florida for vacation. I was able to sit on the beach and conduct a meeting with one of my clients on a site redesign. Without being able to see their live site, I never would have been able to conduct this meeting. One thing we forgot was our camera charger. I quickly hopped online and had a charger sent to us before we ran out of juice, allowing us to take capture important moments, like our first trip out to the Florida keys and our children’s first experience with dolphins in the wild. Later in the trip I was able to save $75 on my hotel stay since I didn’t need to pay for the daily $25 internet access fee.
  • Helping Others: I was with a filmmaker who had a hard deadline to upload a client’s video before the press release hit. Trouble was the coffee shops internet access was sporadic and slow, causing his video upload to fail over and over. Within 5 seconds I got him online and he was able to meet his deadline. Another time I was riding on a bus destined for Seattle and a lady was literally in tears because the bus was running late & she wouldn’t be able to give her boss the fixed powerpoint presentation in time for his big meeting. I asked her if she would like to give it to him right now & she looked at me like I was speaking a foreign language.
  • Information Anywhere: This has probably come in handy more times then I can remember, but one situation was a serious stress reliever for me. I bought an expensive new camera and was filming my child’s science presentation at a science fair. My camera’s LCD screen had several dull gray band floating across it and I thought for sure I had already broken my camera. Turns out the cheap florescent lighting in the building had a “cycle” that competed with the camera’s shutter rate. I would have stressed out until my next filming date if I didn’t have that information at my finger tips.

What is G.co?

Soon many people may be wondering why they are seeing links with http://g.co/ in them are and whether they should be trusted. The short answer is that they are auto-generated by Google for URL shortening purposes, similar to how Twitter started using t.co.

what is g.coBackground on the g.co Domain
If you’ve been following the domain world this past year, you may recognize the .co TLD which actually stands for the country of Columbia, but has been marketed as a .com competitor. A few companies have paid big money to get their hands on very short .co URLs. In particular, Overstock bought o.co for $350k. Twitter bought t.co and Amazon bought a.co, z.co, and k.co. The .co authorities mentioned that one-letter .co domains are worth about $1.5 million now. Hard to say what Google paid for it, but I imagine it was in the $100k range due to the actual registration date (see below).

Though the news of g.co just hit the web, Google actually registered the domain back on April 26th, 2010 according to whois domain records. Strangely, Google only registered it for 2-years… it is set to expire on April 25th, 2012. I’m actually a little surprised Google doesn’t usually register its domain names for longer periods of time: Google.com is set to expire on September 13th – imagine picking up that domain on a domain drop!

Google’s Intended Use of G.CO
No one really knows how Google will use g.co at this point but Google has stated that it will be used just for Google websites, so anyone clicking on them can trust that they will be going to a Google website. I suspect Google might use it to send people to Google-plus and/or Google docs. Google assures us we will find out soon.

g.co vs goo.gl
goo.gl is Google’s public URL shortening service, similar to bit.ly and t.co. All three services intend to offer some level of protection against malware & affiliate scams, provide proper 301 redirects for SEO, and offer some level of reporting. However, g.co intends to be Google-only links, so all reporting will probably be just for Google’s eyes & I’d expect they will handle the redirects properly.

Are g.co Links Safe?
Considering Google intends them to be links to only Google properties, they should be very safe. However, if Google does end up using the links for Google+ or service where users are allowed to create their own content, then the link may not be completely safe (though I expect as with t.co and goo.gl links, Google will be monitoring them for abuse). I’ll update this post as more information becomes available.

Clearly Seattle’s Hero

Cue the dramatic music as I slip on my mask, tie on my cape, and pull on my gloves in preparation of finally living out my boyhood dreams as a REAL hero… kind of.

For the next six months, I now no longer represent just myself. I will be living a double life as myself and the CLEAR Hero for the Seattle area. I won’t be battling street crime (we’ll leave that to my wife, the forensic scientist), but I will be “rescuing” people who need Internet access in some of the toughest neighborhoods for obtaining 4G Internet Access.

As part of the hero assignment, CLEAR will be lending me a Spot Device with free service, which will allow me to connect up to 8 distressed victims at once. I’ll be incognito, secretly armed with the full power of Internet access, looking for opportunities to help people out in various coffee shops, airports and web conferences, all in the name of good Karma for CLEAR.

It’s a very cool program and I’m excited to be a part of it! Down the road I’ll post a recap of a few of my hero-esque moments.

Radiohead King of Limbs Online Execution

Loss of Limb: What Radiohead could have done to improve their self-distributed King of Lambs Album web success.

Over three years ago I beat up Radiohead for the online execution of In Rainbows. I was frustrated because they had a great opportunity to prove the self-distribution model online, but made several simple mistakes that may have reduced their effectiveness. With their latest release, King of Limbs, which hit the web today, they made some similar mistakes.

Before I jump into the King of Limbs website improvement suggestions, I do want to applaud their music and alternative distribution experiments. They are still doing a great job changing the music industry–I just wish they partnered with a company that knew what they were doing online.

King of Limbs Site Improvement Suggestions:

King of Limbs
Radiohead King of Limbs Album Website

Here’s what I wish Radiohead would have done with their King of Limbs Album Website from different standpoints.

King of Limbs Album Cover
King of Limbs Album Cover
Usability:

  • Splash homepage. Relying on Image map for navigation with poor alt text. Glad I’m not blind.
  • But they want me to be blind. There is no description of what is on the album. How many tracks? What songs?
  • No opportunity to preview any of the music. I don’t need to hear the whole song, but I would love to hear a sneak peek before drop $9-48.00.
  • No help deciding what digital version to choose from.
  • Newspaper Album terminology confusing.
  • No links to any information about the band. No links to other sites about the band or other albums.
  • Navigation comes and goes. Homepage has no navigation other then image map. Some pages have Home link, Order Tracking, Help and Checkout. Other have only Home link and some have Home, Order Tracking and Help, but no checkout.
  • Checkout jumps to www.thekingoflimbs.com through strange transaction URL redirect. If you started on kingoflimbs.com, this may trip up some people, especially with higher levels of browser security.
  • Not brought into a secure form until you fill out your email address and password. Order form being non-secure until this step may scare some people.
  • No choice on the download options. Does it always come down as a zip file?
  • The zip file came with no instructions whatsoever. Some people might want help loading the MP3s into iTunes, etc.
  • The zip file included the album cover, but didn’t bother with a song list, lyrics, videos, art, or any information about the album

Social:

  • No images to be used as thumbnails on Facebook or other sharing platforms when linking to the site.
  • No sharing options on the site. Why not encourage people to brag about downloading the album?
  • Completely reliant upon news organizations to point to the URL and share the news. No information about the release.
  • No link or embed of the music video. The press felt it was worth sharing, why did Radiohead skip it?
  • No evidence of interaction with fans on release day – other then a Tweet that says you can download the album.

SEO:

  • A splash homepage with an image map. Seriously?
  • Title tag is: “The King of Limbs : Where are you?” No mention of Radiohead, music, album, etc. “Where are you” not helping anything.
  • The alt tags on the image map are not helping the site (The Americas, S.E.Asia, UK/Ireland, Europe, Rest of the World.
  • No meta description. Guess they don’t care what their listing looks like in the engines.
  • Used only an H2 and a H5. I’m scratching my head on why they chose those two.
  • Had the search engines crawl the correct URL before the album launch. A search for “King of Limbs” has the following URL #1 in Google: thekingoflimbs.com/CC.php?ID=2.
  • Both canonical version of the site resolve (thekingoflimbs.com and www.thekingoflimbs.com). Pick one!
  • KingofLimbs and www.kingoflimbs also resolve – I can’t tell which domain they want to use.
  • All the different domain variations clearly creates duplicate content problems, but each area of the map you click on generates the same content–only the price changes.
  • Most of the URLs seem to push through a php page that uses a javascript URL rewrite.
  • Passing a large amount of link equity to shop.sandbag.uk.com.
  • The various SEO mistakes make it so search spammers, music resellers and bit torrents can potentially outrank Radiohead for their own album. Since they are self-distributing this could result in lost sales or unnecessary commissions.

Maybe it doesn’t matter?
Despite all the issues I raise above (and many more I didn’t bother pointing out), I’m sure the King of Limbs album will be highly successful. This site is still executed better than the In Rainbows site was. Again, I’m frustrated that they didn’t put the web to full use, especially if it is their primary distribution method.

Unnecessary disclaimer: I listened to the album while writing the post and must say that I enjoyed it. So far Codex is my favorite song.